From the BlogSubscribe Now

May I Ask You a Few Questions?

pixabayuser: mland31

Hey guys, would you be willing to answer some questions, or give a little feedback, if you are inclined? Maybe we could sit for a while?

I wish we could…somewhere so your voice, facial expressions, and hand gestures and body language could accompany your answers! Maybe a park bench in NYC’s Central Park while it’s still September and the temperature is perfect, or a comfy couch in the lobby of a beautiful hotel with tall ceilings and exotic tropical planters, or in the warm sand on a beach in Mexico where the waves are washing up but not too loudly that we can’t hear one another…or at a cold keyboard in front of a stark computer screen on a boring desk…or whatever.

You don’t have to share these answers here. Feel free to ponder them, wrestle with them a bit, maybe journal about them or ask them of another person. I’d love to hear what you have to say, though, so feel free to share in the comments or shoot me an email.

I’m a curious person and people’s stories matter to me. It’s my life’s work. And I’d love to know you better.

An Interview with…YOU.

If you had 5 minutes and a microphone to share with the world, what would you share? Why is this important to you?

If practicality were not an issue, what job or career would you have, and why?

What strengths and gifts come naturally to you that you are offering to the world?

What’s your Highest high and your Lowest low?

When is the last time you felt like God was working through you to encourage or inspire others?

What do you think people say about you behind your back?

What breaks your heart?

How have you remained in community in our polarized country?

Has your faith or the way you practice your faith or belief, changed in the last 5-10-15 years?

Do you believe you are loved? Why or why not?

Do you believe God is good? Why or why not?

Has social media been a positive or negative aspect in your life? How so?

Happy Blog-o-versary to ME!

carnival-250936_1920
WOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

TEN YEARS! 10 YEARS, guys!

. . .

I started blogging in 2006, first at noahsteven.blogspot.com named after my son who passed away. For a season I blogged about my journey with food, being a latchkey kid, and self-image over at “Confessions of a 2nd Grade Closet Eater,”  Now I mainly write here at www.adriennegraves.com

For my 10 year blog-o-versary I have decided to share some video blog posts of things that have been on my heart for a long, long time. And by “a long time” let’s just say, if I keep them inside any longer I may implode. 

Written words are beautiful, but one thing I’ve learned whether it’s having hard conversations in relationships, media, religion, politics, and education, among others, we can often miss the written intention of the author when we haven’t also gained eye contact, voice inflection, or facial expressions, to name a few. Part of my goal in posting these video blogs is to create a space where readers can learn more about my heart around the words I’ve shared here for 10 years. Also, I’d love to hear how others are also encouraged to start engaging candidly with the people in their own lives, as a result.

. . .

This particular video is my intro. Some of the “vlogs” will be recorded in my car since I spend a good amount of time in it, so just a heads up to please send me feedback on the sound, if you’d be willing?

I started a YouTube channel because I don’t really know any other way to do this (again, feedback on that would be great, too). The channel address is my name. On this channel I’ll be sharing several segments, a lot of my personal story, my journey as a peacemaker and advocate for women of every age, experiences with theology/scripture/church culture, marriage, friendship, relationships, parenting, exposing fears, insights, mentoring and leadership direction, as well as my unique perspective and story coaching.

Sooooo…here you go…

. . .

I’d love to have you join me for this 10th Blog-o-versary party! You can subscribe to the vlogs on YouTube here or for photos and more narrative, I’ll always post the vlogs here on my blog. You can subscribe to my blog on the right side of this blog’s front page under my photo.

. . .

 

photo courtesy: pixabay user/MB-fotografie/carnival

My Mid-Life Crisis, Part 2 of Many…

The title for this post may be a bit dramatic, but I am going to unpack “Mid-Life Crisis” in some posts to come, but this does dabble with some of the topics one may wrestle with when thinking of a mid-life crisis, so I felt it fit.

Last year I got to travel a bit, with family, with Jason, and all by myself. I. Love. To. Travel.

Exploring the world, people watching, meeting new people and learning their stories, taking in the smells and sights and feeling the feels is breath for my soul. It doesn’t have to be glamorous…I’m not talking 5-star lodging, though there is nothing wrong with that. I’m simply saying, my Spirit loves the soil of the barrio beneath my feet as much as it thrives off the sand on an uninhabited beach. In both places we find God’s divine beauty if we let our eyes see.

So, last fall I was able to tag along to Paris, the romantic city of love, where Jason had meetings, adding a few days on the front end to explore the countryside with my best friend and lover. We drove hundreds of miles, some mapped, others our own detours, tried new wines, ate baguettes and Cuban food, stayed in mom and pop Bed & Breakfasts, listened to new music, and, of course U2, and laughed out loud together at Jim Gaffigan’s comedic genius. The French countryside and our time in Paris was just right.

Well, in the spirit of French romanticism, and trying to keep it real, I wanted to change my profile picture on Facebook…first, why can’t we just change our profile pictures without it being posted to everyone’s walls that we did, in fact, change them? Anyway, see, Ryan wants me to grow my hair back out…maybe he wants to snuggle with it? I obliged even though I really, really, really like my hair less than one inch long. It’s this love, hate thing going on…trying to practice empathy with many incredible friends and women who have lost their hair to disease, feeling what it feels like to grow it in and feel awkward through the stages of growth. Let me tell ya…it sucks! I’ve had the luxury of cutting mine or shaving it again probably 5 or 6 times, but figured if I’m going to grow it out, I should probably stop cutting it. Whoa. It’s been about 7 months and if I dyed it blue, I’d look like your grandma.

Anyway, yada, yada. I changed my profile picture from when I was tan and it was summer and I was probably 5 or 10lbs skinnier and my hair was short and maintenance free, to this one where I have a bit of a frizz head, but the lighting was right and, whatever, it’s just a picture.

But I felt romantical in it. I felt kind of demure, French film-star, pale-skinned, pretty in it, so I thought, “Well, this is about as good as it gets in the hair department for now, so it is what it is and I feel pretty.” Post.

Those words to myself, “I feel pretty,” haven’t been common to me. (Read here for more of that story.) They aren’t first or even second nature. They are words I’ve had to convince myself of in the last 4 years since turning 40, not only on the outside but deep, deep within…in the last 4 years since God said to me, specifically, almost audibly, “Adrienne, I know you love Me. I know you love others. There’s another part to that scriptural command and it’s to love yourself…it’s time you started doing that…”

UGH. Um, what does that even look like?

If I were in so-called mid-life crisis mode, filtering these truths into me, separate from God’s truth over me, it might look like nips and tucks and replacement parts and endless dieting and die-hard, bad-ass working out, striving for something, other than, in spite of any of that, just looking in the mirror and loving myself simply because I exist. Simply because God made me. Simply because when He made US, He said, “It’s oh, so, good!”

So, let’s fast forward to a conversation, one had in light of me being in a healthier place in my head and heart and body than I have been in a while…Jason says, “I really think you are beautiful. That being said, I think you should change your profile picture. It doesn’t really look like you, it doesn’t capture who I see when I look at you.”

Me: You don’t like my profile picture?
Him: No. You know I think you are beautiful. I just don’t think it looks like you.
Me: I like it. I feel French and romantic in it. Plus, you know me, I’m so literal, it’s not how my hair looks right now so I felt it wasn’t current or accurate.
Him: Ok, that’s fine. I just don’t think it looks as beautiful as you are. But keep it.

Then I get a call from my dad. “Hey, Boo, there’s this weird picture of you I saw the other day. It doesn’t look like you. You look kind of distorted…”

Me: Oh, really? Am I wearing a green sweater?
Dad: I’m not sure, I’ll have to look at it again…you look kind of gaunt, almost anorexic.
Me: Dad, not eating enough food has never been my schtick…I’m a huge fan of food. Don’t worry, I’m not anorexic. And, PS, I like that picture…I feel pretty in it.
Dad: Well, I just think you’re so pretty and it doesn’t look like you.

So, then I tell Jason, who I’ve been lovingly dishing crap to over the course of the day, “Yeah, my dad hates that picture, too…”

Jason: I don’t hate it. You are beautiful. Keep it. I just have other favorite ones of you I love more.
Me: So, the 200+ friends who liked it on Facebook are obviously blind…

(* Snap! Knee to the face! Elbow to the face! (spoken in Nacho accent…))

Thing is, they are both kind of right, these men in my life. Not that it’s not a good picture, because I like it whether it’s “good” or not, whether others “like” it or not…I know how I felt taking it, and it’s just a picture that doesn’t define me. Just as no picture represents the whole of us. But, if a photographer were to take a shoot of me, in true Adrienne style, it’d be full of sass. It’d be snarky and smart ass and I’d be awkward with the camera and saying ridiculous things like cuss words or “sperm whale” just to laugh and not feel so very uncomfortable being seen, being vulnerable.

So, in my true smart ass way that I often function, I headed to the bathroom around 11:15 to get ready for bed. I fluffed out my hair a bit. And then I texted this to Jason, down the hall, with, “Oh yeah! Here’s a profile picture for you!”

IMG_6483

 

IMG_6485

Funny thing is, I like these, too. I like them because my Noah skin discoloration on my cheek shows. I like them because how fun would it be to just fro out your hair and not care?! I like them because Jason and I got a good laugh out of them. I like them because I think we all take ourselves too freaking seriously.

But, my hair is growing more. And it’s sub-zero this winter and I can’t leave my hair wet to dry, so I’ve been blowing it out, but then it’s cuh-razy, so I pretty much just wear a hat anyway. And I’ve almost shaved it 12 times since last week, but I’m sucking it up and just going with the fro, which I can’t rock as awesome as some sisters, but whatever. It’s hair and isn’t what this is really about, I sure hope you’ve caught that?!

Anyway, so, then Ry and I hid behind the curtains where the snowy sunlight made for a decent filter and snapped off some new pictures. Some I like and some I don’t, but the crazy thing is, they are all me and all Ryan. Who we are in the pictures doesn’t change whether one picture captures us well, or not.

 

IMG_6744

IMG_6743

IMG_6742

IMG_6741

IMG_6739

IMG_6738

IMG_6736

He won’t admit it, but he’s lovin’ my smooches…

IMG_6735

I'm in love with this boy!

I’m in love with this boy!

IMG_6733

FullSizeRender[6]

IMG_6731

 

And, so, I’m encouraging you to give yourself a bit of grace, too. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then as we scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll, let’s remember there are stories behind every picture, and so much more than meets the eye.

“Christians” Need To Stop Talking

person-976759_1920

 

Stop talking.

Stop talking.

Shhhhh.

Stop.

Zip. Shhhh, shhhh, shhhhhhh.

Please. Stop talking…

Stop boycotting stuff because people believe different things than you.
Stop quitting clubs and making your own clubs.
Stop telling others to boycott things you want to boycott so you won’t be alone in your stand against evil.
Stop using the word “Christian” while making blanket statements and actions for the rest of us.

Let’s read the book of Daniel.

Let’s all just stop talking and start implementing and practicing love…practicing empathy…putting into practice the lifestyle Jesus modeled…one that went something like: loving the whole world, no exceptions.

In the world, not of the world, but love the world.

“Love our neighbor…”

Stop talking about quitting Starbucks® because they ditched the dove for the holidays, because it’s not even a thing, and because we all know you aren’t going to, because, well, it’s your cliche schtick, so you can’t, anyway…plus, the lady in accounting at Caribou® corporate likes “Moonlight Path” by Bath and Body®, the guy in shipping at Gloria Jean’s® eats his guacamole with GMO corn chips from Tostitos®, the CEO’s assistant at Peet’s® is a lesbian who wears Avon® and incidentally has breast cancer, the guy in marketing at Lavazza® donates his time to freeing slaves in foreign countries where they worship idols, the social media girl from Dunkin’Donuts® always posts pictures of her cats and we all know real Christians like dogs because G-O-D and D-O-G, the people in the village where your beans were harvested practice voodoo, and then there’s the barista at Tim Hortons!® whose great, great, great, great, granddaddy started Macy’s® so you can’t watch the parade now, either…

Besides…are you kidding? “Red cup?” It’s kind of brilliant. Like, at a party, Red Cup™, get it? But that’s maybe the point? Maybe Solo® really should get some royalties for the inspiration?

“Love our neighbor…”

So, there aren’t any other options…unless, of course, you have one of those thing-a-ma-jiggers, oh…what are they? Let’s see, they are these things that make coffee for us right at home…oh, yeah, coffee makers. And there we can choose our very own mug…it’s crazy stuff. Oh, and, since none of the alternative coffee chains will suffice, all the money saved can be applied to a community service project or family mission trip, instead. But only get the coffee makers and beans and filters and mugs from, well, sources where you know every. single. one. of the beliefs of every employee.

Stop talking and read the book of Daniel and look at the life he lived.

We are all connected, we belong to each other, like 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon, but much more personal…and we need to learn how to get along and love, love, love.

“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

Listen, boycotting World Vision International and dropping the child sponsorship of 10,000 children in devastating living situations around the world because you differed on views about homosexuality speaks volumes…in fact, it’s so loud, the children and I can’t quite make out the message you were trying to send…except that “Christians” eat their own.

“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

There are 7 billion people on earth, all created in God’s image, uniquely designed for a display of His creative love and artistic work, some don’t believe this yet, but loving them well as Christ instructed will reveal it. There is no way we will ever all believe the exact same things about every single thing…so, I mean, that’s fine if you want to boycott such and such a company because of certain core values you don’t share and support other organizations with your monetary investment, but then it’s probable you’ll need to boycott every. single. organization and product on the face of the entire earth because if we get really into it, and dig deep enough, we may just discover that someone in accounting at your favorite “Christian” store has a cousin who is your barber’s sister’s husband’s best friend’s daughter and she said, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to a patron at Starbucks the other day when she handed them their plain old red cuppa joe.

Seriously. Let’s stop talking.

And let’s start doing THE THING.

LOVING. LOVING EACH OTHER IS THE THING.

“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

 

LORD JESUS, PLEASE FIND US DOING THE THING…

Here Goes Nothing…

First of all, thank you guys for all the encouraging feedback, cheering me on to write. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but the practice of writing is something I’ve been out of for quite some time. This challenge came to me from some new friends in a blogging workshop I’m taking. There are no guidelines as to how content makes it onto a page each day, the gist of the exercise is just that: to exercise, to practice, to make writing daily intention. Today is my first day and my intention is to write each morning for that particular day, but I foresee some days when I may be able to write a few pieces or go through my drafted archives, clean things up a bit, and bring life to those. Honestly, I’m writing this paragraph just to get warmed up and I know it was boring to read.

I’m actually just typing stuff right now because, I kid you not, the moment I made my entry into the group official, my brain went blank.

Nothing. Nothing except writer’s block…deer in the headlights.

A friend from California texted me yesterday, asking about the challenge, mulling over if this is a good time to start the blog she’s always wanted to write. I told her how I had suddenly developed writer’s block.

“Write about writer’s block,” said the girl who’s been talking about starting a blog for years.

Then this is what the rest of our conversation looked like:

IMG_5297

 

So, apparently I may write about cults during this challenge, too, who knows?

It hit me last night that the last time I wrote for 31 days in a row, it was while our son, Noah, was in the hospital. I had a lot more time in my life to sit and ponder way back then…and some of the entries of the next 31 days were birthed even back then.

I almost quit this whole challenge and blogging thing altogether yesterday. I’m not kidding. I’ve thought about hanging it up for probably 5 of the last 9 years, not every day, but many times…more on that in another post…

Let me ask you this…Have you ever felt so passionately about something, but the details it would take to make the thing happen seem insurmountable and aren’t even part of your scope of capability, so you wonder if it’s worth the time and energy? For example, I have a couple of friends who are doctors who started their own practices. Their hearts and gifts to heal people are spot-on, totally God-given, but the paper work that goes along with owning their own businesses near suffocates them at times.

That’s how I’ve felt about blogging…I LOVE it! I fell in love with authentic, candid writing in the last thought of sacred place ever. Noah’s hospital room was the safest and most vulnerable space for my heart, yet it felt right and the words began to flow out of me. His life and death brought about a sort of resurrection to the kind of writing I had once loved before I BS’d my way through high school and college papers simply for grades.

The practice of writing became a rhythm and it felt wonderful, but I could have done that in a Word document or a journal.

But blogging? Oh, you guys, blogging was interactive, there were other people who would show up, share their guts, as well, say, “ME, TOO!” or “I totally disagree but would love to discuss…” and my heart would swell. It was LIVE and RAW and UNFILTERED and suddenly I realized the things that went through my mind and onto the screen also connected to the hearts of real people on literally every single continent. And for a middle child who loves it when everyone shows up and gets along, it was epically mind blowing! The problem is, even though people would comment and share a bit of their lives, I, true story, didn’t know how to reply to them unless via a personal email. There was no “reply” button back in the olden days of blog world, at least not the way mine had been set up initially. And it got overwhelming. One. Little. Button. Had so much power to discourage me.

I’m telling you, I’ve written on a blog for 9 years now, but I’ve never known HOW to blog.

Then blogs were lighting up everywhere and there were great places where people could gather and interact and show up to laugh and cry and encourage and challenge one another. It was cool and weird at the same time to be able to connect to breathing humans in other parts of the country and world. I mean, I was born in 1972…to connect with people we used to walk next door and knock and ask, “Can Stacey come out and play?” I was working and writing through my grief, finding healing with each word I’d crank out, but I started listening to lies in my head, like, “Well, Noah’s dead so no one’s going to want to read here anymore. There are plenty of awesome other women who are a ton more fun and encouraging on the Web right now…you’re too raw and brassy…opinionated and loud…” And, to be perfectly honest, it was a battle in both directions: it wasn’t the attention the blog drew, it was the potential interaction with souls all over the world, and I wanted to care for and nurture and encourage ALL OF THEM, but I mostly wanted to sit crossed legged on a couch side by side or fall on our faces together on the floor and cry, but tangibly. And on the other side, some people would email me or comment and say, “Adrienne, you haven’t written in a couple of days (*I had written several times a day for 5 1/2 months while Noah was hospitalized.) and I come here to your blog to read it as a devotional.”

So, in my stubbornness, I pulled away from writing regularly. Seriously. A healing outlet where I found oxygen again, I pulled away out of stubbornness because of a couple comments, meant to be encouraging, like, “Adrienne, thanks for all you’ve written here…it’s come to be a place of refuge and quiet for me every day.” That I instead read, “Adrienne, you need to be more consistent. I’m addicted to this reality show you are living and you are messing with my programming.”

Jacked, right? I know. Though there could have been truth in either interpretation.

So, what the heck am I trying to say in this way too long post and why am I doing this exercise of writing? Well, a friend on Facebook who was a student at the college where I used to work mentioned me in a comment one day. I clicked on her link and saw the beautiful Jen Hatmaker’s mug shot on the screen where she pitched, without kickbacks, a very convincing few paragraphs of how, “there’s room for everyone at the table, how if you’ve ever wanted to blog or have blogged but were clumsy at it, there was this workshop by this guy who was brilliant and a smarty-pants, a way to take the drudgery out of blogging by learning some key things which would pay the likely returns of JOY in the process”…or something to that effect.

And I cried. I cried and read every word on the first sample lesson.

What? Jen Hatmaker thinks there’s room for everyone? Even me?

But seriously, even more, I have said to Jason a zillion times, “Sweetheart, I just want to write. Is there such a thing as me just writing and the technical stuff took care of itself? Like, someone could just show me how to do the actual act of blogging and then I’d just be able to freaking do it!”

So, here I am. And I’m no longer believing the lies there isn’t room for me just because I may not fit a mold, because it’s one of my own soapboxes:

WE ALL HAVE A STORY AND THERE’S ROOM FOR ALL OF US.

My Thoughts on Social Media

There’s much talk these days about social media, especially blogs and Facebook, and likely Instagram, and probably Twitter, and most definitely Pinterest, but probably not Google+ because no one knows what that is, really.  The talk is about how these venues of communication make some people crusty and agitated because they don’t believe people are portraying themselves honestly for the world to see.  They are wearing their “Sunday Best,” let’s say, but never airing dirty laundry or imperfections, aren’t raw and real, and are lacking vulnerability and authenticity.

Essentially, what I see happening and sometimes experience is, we are comparing our private selves to other peoples’ public selves.  The reality is, if we are irritated by another person’s post, isn’t that more about us and our faulty, insecure filters rather than about the other person?  Just a question to ask ourselves.

photo: geckoandfly.com

photo: geckoandfly.com

I do use all of the above modes of media, some I’m fine with, others suck me into a dark place…and I want to talk about that.

I guess I’ll just go down the list:

  1. Blog World:  I started blogging b/c my BFF set one up for me while our son was in the hospital 7.5 years ago.  I didn’t know what one was, and as I started out, only thought friends and family were reading it.  It never occurred to me a scientist in Antarctica was reading or a new friend from Australia would come of it.  I continue to write my blog because I’ve come to know God in a more personal way through it, learning from Him that He wired me as a writer, not to publish books or for attention or fame, but simply as an expression of my love to Him.  It’s humbling other people take time to read my heart on screen.  Do I read other blogs?  I do read some, but not regularly.  I’m not “in a tribe” if you will, nor do I have one.  I have some friends in the blogosphere and check in with them once in a while as they are on my heart.  I love what they are doing in their circles of encouragement and believe God has connected us to pray for one another to keep on doing what we’re doing.
  2. Facebook:  I resisted Facebook for quite some time because I’m one of those girls who is initially resistant to change.  Then I saw how fun it was to reconnect with all the circles of life from my past, people I genuinely cared for, and so I jumped in, likely with too much enthusiasm at the start.  I can honestly say, I love seeing the snippets of peoples’ lives.  I imagine we’re sitting on the couch together, looking through pictures, sharing stories, catching up on tons of years.  When I see pictures or status updates about trips or date nights or kids, I’m totally excited for them.  I also love funny stories and status’ that reveal our imperfections…you know, opportunities to NOT take ourselves so seriously.  As a former closet binge eater, however, I have a hard time with the constant FB posts of people’s dinners.  I admit.  I totally posted pictures of food from Spain.  I did it.  But that isn’t all I ever post.  I have to scroll on by when I see constant pics of food on a person’s status.  At the same time, I subscribe or “Like” several foodie pages.  It’s like food porn at times, and if I am feeling vulnerable and lacking in life margin, seeing their constant recipe posts and plugs for their cookbooks, I have to scroll on by.  Here’s the crazy one…so, I love connecting with women!  I love when women realize who they are as God’s created and start thriving in their gifts.  I love when women come together and encourage one another, are collaborating and are crossing bridges to team up for Love’s sake.  I’ve been praying over these things for more than 15 years and the random roles I’ve played in leadership development, mentoring, small groups, as a women’s pastor, radio show host, and as the founder of Bevy Girls are all a reflection of this.  And at the same time, on FB (and Twitter) when I see bloggers and authors and speakers I’ve known of for years posting things I’ve been praying about for so long, my first flesh reaction is literally an elevated heart rate, accompanied by a slight throat and chest constriction.  I have to literally STOP.  And I say, “Lord!  Help me!  Seriously!  You know my heart, so why am I not rejoicing and praising rather than wondering why You would lead me to pray about these things for years, but never allow me to be part of it?!”  And then I repent.  I have to.  Every time.  And I realize I am part of it.  I’ve been on the praying part of it.  Because I love when we come together and am inspired when we do, but I realize what it is for me:  the anxiety which comes when I see the calls for great gatherings of women is Satan’s attempt to discourage me with a mentality that I’ve dropped the ball and am not doing enough…that I have to be part of the bigger gatherings in order to make the greater impact for God’s kingdom.  And it’s when my head and heart start believing these lies, rather than being faithful to love and care for, pray for, and nurture the people in my small circle of life, that I cycle back to the food porn blogs or a fitness blog where I think I’m a cow and don’t lift enough weights and make myself a few chocolate chip cookies, or drink a little vodka, or eat carbs.
  3. Facebook, part 2:  Clearly FB needs a part 2.  I like FB b/c it gives me a sense of being in touch with people I love.  On the other hand, I don’t care for it because it really can be a time waster.  The amount of time spent on FB in this world, by those of us who use it, could be put to better use if we all signed off forever and actually lived life engaged in our little circles of life, this could be said about all modes of social media.  That being said, for now I’m not signing off because of the community of awesome people, and rather than feeling overwhelmed that someone else’s post about what they are doing is a finger pointed at me for not doing it, too, I’m working on being intentional and faithful in my circle of life, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, loving those around me in the day to day.
  4. Facebook, part 3:  So, one last thing…I don’t look at posts as fake or “hey, my life is perfect!”  When my friend wrote this, she was stating the obvious:  we post family pictures when we’re bathed and dressed (*unless it’s on Awkward Family Photos, but that’s another story…), but clearly we don’t always bathe or get dressed, nor is anyone perfect, so it’s only our own insecurities that are triggered if we think anything other than, “Cool, she and her family look great!”  When we think, “She’s a bitch because she’s pretty” or “she doesn’t know what it’s like to have problems,” it’s safe to say we have forgotten not everyone has the luxury of daily showers.  But here’s the big one:  I don’t think FB is fake at all but rather revealing.  I think when one person is constantly putting up pictures of food at restaurants, they are revealing something on the throne of their hearts.  And the person who is posting selfies every other day?  Again, revealing loneliness, a desire to be known, a cry for attention and connection.  How about the invites for game playing?  Same thing.  But imagine if people actually sat at the same table to play Scrabble or whatever game it is…wouldn’t that be profound?
  5. Instagram:  Again, sure I’ve posted pictures of food (things grown in my garden or my kid eating a head of broccoli or a recipe I’ve made) but it’s not so someone else feels badly because their kid doesn’t eat broccoli or they don’t make homemade soup. I’m a visual person so seeing pictures puts a story in my head.  I guess posting is my way of telling a story.  As far as being public or private, I’m a private user because I don’t think it’s necessary for strangers to see my pictures, especially since I’m not a professional, so am not using it to promote my photography.
  6. Twitter:  Oh Twitter!  My mom was trying to explain it to my 90+ year old grandpa.  She said it was like putting a note on the fridge that said, “Running out to the store, be back in 30.”  Except it’s not that anymore.  When my friend, Gina, and I had the radio show, we set up Twitter accounts.  I’m not in the “in” crowd, nor do I totally understand it, but I do know some great connections have come of it and like minded people can encourage one another there.  I, however, get barfy and have anxiety if I am on there too much because I don’t know how to really communicate on there and then I have this sense of missing out on connecting, if that makes sense at all…so, I sign off.  Sharing articles is insightful and so I am encouraged when I see some of those on there, but I’m just not educated on all the “right” ways to use it, so I’m only on there once in a while.
  7. Pinterest:  Friends told me about this, so I checked it out.  I like looking at some of the pictures and have several boards.  Sharing ideas is fun and inspiring, but I don’t look at Pinterest and think, “Oh man, I suck because I’m not doing that…”  Again, I’m not sure I know how to use it correctly.  I like being inspired by ideas but I’d also rather be in my basement creating things with my imagination and hands rather than scrolling the Internet for other peoples’ creativity.  I am maybe on there once every few weeks, but I know if I was on there more, I’d have major anxiety with all there is out there TO DO and think, “Man, I should really be in my basement!”
  8. Google+:  Again.  What is this?

What it all boils down to, for me, is:  margin and where my heart is.

Before Noah went into the hospital, my friend gave me a book called, “One Minute of Margin” by Dr. Richard Swenson.  It’s about creating margin, or space, either physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally, but simplifying our lives.  A modern twist is Jen Hatmaker’s book, “7.”  The point is, the more we have and are stimulated by, the more overwhelmed we feel.  The more bandwidth, the easier it is to breathe.

Contrary to American culture:  Less is actually so much more.

When I feel overwhelmed, like with actual anxiety, usually triggered by reading too many media posts by others or scrolling any of the above mentioned media venues, I know I have to step back.  My knee jerk, dream reaction would be to go to a deserted sustainable island where I could have fish, seaweed, and coconuts and a great tan and no electricity and live forever doing Yoga and praying in the Spirit to my Heavenly Father all the live long day.  Since that ain’t gonna happen, I close my laptop, chuck my phone in my purse, and start thanking God for His love for me.  I pray for everyone He puts on my heart, prayers for God’s love to be known in our hearts amidst the crazy clutter with which we’ve filled our lives.  With which I’ve filled my life...

…and the crazy thing?  Well, when I chuck all media, I actually get stuff done, as well as face to face connect with real people in tangible ways, here on this earth, where real hands are held, wet tears are shed, laughter lines are deepened, and the warmth of friendship and family brings real live healing and hope.

Friggin’ profound, isn’t it?